Weather Blog

Can California's snowpack rally like Washington's?

Can California's snowpack rally like Washington's?
A warning sign about ramps not suitable for all boats due to the low water level of Black Butte Lake Friday Jan. 17, 2014 in Orland, Calif. (AP Photo/Chico Enterprise-Record, Jason Halley)

As mentioned here earlier this week, the Washington Cascades made a tremendous rally in the past two weeks for our seasonal snowpack, stuck at 50-60 percent of normal as late as Feb. 7, only to now sit at 97-104 percent of normal!

California's snowpack was in much more dire straits than Washington at the same time -- around 10-20 percent of normal in early February.

The Golden State did get a few of the 10 or so mountain-snow storms that dumped 6-8 feet of snow in the Cascades this month, but only a handful gave them a direct hit. As of Feb. 24, the Sierras stand at 33-48 percent of normal.

To put that in perspective, there was this jarring map provided by the National Weather Service office near San Francisco that shows just how much rainfall California would need to be considered out of their drought -- remember many of their towns not only set all-time records for driest 2013 on record, but shattered them.



Yes -- much of California would need another 12-15 inches of rain to make up their drought. That entails all parched land, not just the mountain snowpack, but to put that in snowfall terms, about 120-150 inches of mountain snow.

But could it be California's turn to make a run at normalcy? The jet stream that has been bugging us for a while will move temporarily south and bring a pair of storms carrying some much needed rainfall to the California lowlands and mountain snow to the Sierras.

It won't be quite as wet for as long as it was here, and how I likened Washington's deficit to being down 4 runs in the 9th, California is more like down 8-10 runs in the 9th.

But forecast models indicate about 50-60 inches of snow due in the high Sierras there by the end of the week and about 2.5 to 3 inches of rain in the Northern and Central California lowlands over the same time period. It won't get them to 100 percent, but every little drop (and snowflake) counts down there!